National: Could ‘Pokemon Go’ Break Election Laws? | US News & World Report

“Pokemon Go,” the augmented reality app that recently became the biggest mobile game in U.S. history, has businesses and advertisers working feverishly to capitalize on its enormous popularity. And while election campaigns are already taking advantage of the game’s mechanics to incentivize players to visit political rallies and registration drives, the possible use of “lures” to attract gamers to polling places – and even to influence their vote – is proving to be an unimagined area of election law. Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign, for example, has organized a “Pokemon Go” event in Lakewood, Ohio, where people can play the game and register to vote. Organizers held the event at what the game calls a “Poke Stop,” a public place at which the game’s programmers put items useful in the digital scavenger hunt. Organizers also promised what’s called a “Lure Module” – a facet of the game designed to attract the wild Pokemon whose capture is the object, and thereby avid “Pokemon Go” players, to a particular location.

National: Voting Rights Advocates Concerned As Election Observers Dwindle | Huffington Post

Federal election observers can only be sent to five states in this year’s U.S. presidential election, among the smallest deployments since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to end racial discrimination at the ballot box. The plan, confirmed in a U.S. Department of Justice fact sheet seen by Reuters, reflects changes brought about by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down parts of the Act, a signature legislative achievement of the 1960s civil rights movement. Voting rights advocates told Reuters they were concerned that the scaling-back of observers would make it harder to detect and counter efforts to intimidate or hinder voters, especially in southern states with a history of racial discrimination at the ballot box.

National: Citizens United Muddles What Is Legal In Trump’s Foreign Money Case | NPR

Foreign money in American politics. The phrase suggests secret payments, maybe briefcases stuffed with cash, or dinners of fine food and oblique conversation. Or spam. “Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament are being bombarded with electronic communications from Team Trump, on behalf of somebody called Donald Trump.” Sir Roger Gale, MP, was among the hundreds of legislators, from the United Kingdom to Iceland to Australia, whose inboxes had received unwanted fundraising emails from the Trump campaign. Gale continued: “Mr. Speaker, I’m all in favor of free speech, but I don’t see why colleagues on either side of the house should be subjected to intemperate spam.” He asked if the House of Commons IT staff could please make it stop. Speaker John Bercow sympathized, saying he didn’t consider it acceptable for members to be getting “emails of which the content is offensive.”

Florida: Barrage of emails, calls as voting site moved from Boca mosque | Palm Beach Post

The June 29 letter from Harold Ewing might have been the turning point for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher. “We are going to put together a team of protesters and reporters on this if you can’t secure a better location that is not such a controversial place for such disturbing times over Islam and Isis. I am asking you as a Republican and a Christian to find a non-discriminate location,” Ewing wrote. “Looks like this is becoming a bigger problem than I thought,” Bucher, who was on vacation, wrote her chief deputy, Charmaine Kelly. “Can we see if there is anywhere else we can move to?” Kelly replied, “Yes, we will look for a replacement immediately. Lots of angry and extremely vocal voters.” A few days later, Bucher reversed her earlier decision to place Precinct 4170 in the Islamic Center of Boca Raton and moved it from the mosque to Boca Raton’s Spanish River Library.

Editorials: Kansas Zealot Helps Shape the G.O.P.’s Right-Wing Platform | The New York Times

One of the most fervid ideologues expected at the Republican convention this week — the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach — has been busy shaping extremist positions in the party platform to suppress immigration, gun controls and same-sex marriage. But he also found time last week to do actual damage to Kansans with a devious, 11th-hour policy that would disqualify 17,000 of them as state voters, even though they are allowed by law to vote in federal elections. At issue is Mr. Kobach’s zealous enforcement of a notorious law he urged Kansas Republicans to pass that requires new voters to prove their citizenship with a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers. Federal law imposes no such burden. But Mr. Kobach continues to try to force the state requirement onto the books — brazenly persisting in the face of recent federal and state court findings that these legitimate voters are being suppressed and must be allowed their full ballot rights.

Missouri: Lawmaker predicts Legislature will override Governor’s veto of photo ID bill | Missouri Net

The sponsor of a bill requiring Missourians to submit a photo ID before voting predicts the Legislature will override Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto in September. State Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) notes the Missouri Senate passed his bill 24-8 in May. The Missouri House approved Kraus’ bill 112-38 in May. An override requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers, which means at least 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House. “I fully believe there will be 24 people voting to override, or at least 23. As we get closer to veto session, we’ll make sure that everybody plans to attend and we’ll double-check and make sure that nobody has changed their mind,” says Kraus.

Ohio: Democrats promote voting rights just blocks from GOP convention | Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Just blocks from the arena where Republicans kicked off their presidential nominating convention here Monday, Democrats held an event of their own — on voting rights. “A lot of us are fiercely protective of voting rights,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told a packed room, reminding attendees that “a lot of blood was spilled,” in the battle to win voting rights for blacks. He and other speakers at the two-hour town hall urged pastors, community leaders and others to rally voters to go to the polls this fall. “We have to be clear — it’s about who you’re for, but it’s also who your against,’’ he said. “And somewhere in the middle ought to be the energy for you to go vote. For whatever reason, you need to go.’’ Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, hosted the “United State of Voting’’ event at Cleveland State University. A few blocks away, thousands of Republicans, including a delegation from Mississippi, began their four-day convention.

Voting Blogs: The Numbers Don’t Lie: Debunking Ohio’s Rationalization for Discriminating Against Voters Who Miss an Election | Project Vote

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says he has a good reason for targeting voters for removal from the rolls if they haven’t voted in a while. The problem is, the facts don’t bear him out. Telling someone that they cannot vote now because they didn’t vote in the past is a time-tested method of voter suppression. In years past, to make it harder for people of color and people in other underrepresented groups to vote, some states required all voters to re-register to vote before every election. Congress ended this practice when it passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) in 1993. The NVRA ensures that registered voters do not have to re-register simply because they missed an election or two. Now, before states and counties may remove registered voters from the voter rolls, they must respect certain safeguards—such as confirming that a voter moved to a new home in a different jurisdiction—that are designed to protect eligible voters’ rights to have their say. But when one form of voter suppression is taken away, there is no shortage of creativity in finding ways around it. Now, Husted is attempting to flout the NVRA’s protections by using a person’s failure to vote as a supposed indication that the person has moved.

Editorials: Virginia Needs to Fix Its Racist Voting Law | Dale E. Ho/The New York Times

The Virginia Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a lawsuit that aims to strip the right to vote from more than 206,000 people, including one in five African-American adults in the state. If state lawmakers win, they will keep Virginia trapped in a shameful part of history: when former Confederate states passed felon disenfranchisement laws after Reconstruction to suppress black political power. Under Virginia’s Constitution, a person with a single felony offense can’t vote unless the governor restores his or her voting rights. This wasn’t always the case. Virginia’s 1870 Constitution, passed during Reconstruction, barred voting for those convicted of corruption or treason. But delegates to Virginia’s 1902 constitutional convention adopted new voting restrictions, including a ban on voting for all felons, poll taxes and a literacy test. They were not shy about their intentions. Virginia’s new constitution would “eliminate the darkey as a political factor,” explained Carter Glass, a convention delegate and, later as a United States senator, an author of the Glass-Steagall banking law. Their goal was to ensure “complete supremacy of the white race in the affairs of government.”

Gabon: Ali Bongo’s candidature validated amidst controversy | Africanews

Gabon’s National Electoral Commission, CENAP, has validated the candidature of president Ali Bongo Ondimba and 13 others vying for the presidency. “Out of the 13 candidates, there was that of Ali Bongo. There was consensus on the other 13 candidates except that of Ali Bongo. The plenary assembly usually takes decisions based on consensus and when there is no consensus, the vote of the bureau decides. A vote took place in accordance with the law of the electoral commission. Therefore, only electoral commission decided, concerning Ali Bongo’s candidature 5 votes against 3 for the opposition.” The decision has however been strongly criticised by opposition representatives at the electoral commission who are raising voices that Ali Bongo has changed his birth certificate.

Ghana: Angry mob besieges Electoral Commission’s office in Cape Coast | Ghana Web

Angry residents surrounded the Electoral Commission (EC)’s office in Cape Coast on Monday threatening to halt the on-going exercise to re-register National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registrants whose names were deleted. The exercise, which commenced on Monday, is to enable NHIS registrants whose names were expunged from the electoral roll in accordance with a court order to be re-registered. The angry mob accused the EC of scheming to disenfranchise them by deleting their names as part of NHIS registrants even when they never registered with the NHIS cards in 2012. They demanded answers from the regional officials.

Ireland: Referendum in Ireland on whether Irish abroad should have voting rights at home looks likely | Irish Post

A referendum is likely to be held in Ireland asking the electorate whether millions of Irish living abroad should have a vote in the next Presidential election. A spokesman for the Department of the Taoiseach told The Irish Post why a referendum was necessary: “Any such vote granted to those not living in the Republic would require a change in the constitution. This in turn needs a referendum to enact such a change.” The department confirmed that discussions have been entered into by the Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh. However, no date had been fixed for any referendum and neither had the exact wording of any such question been formulated.

Thailand: Regime blames opponents for pre-referendum disorder | Bangkok Post

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has blamed opponents of the government for stepping up disorder ahead of the draft charter referendum following the destruction of a copy of eligible voters’ lists in the North over the weekend. NCPO spokesman Piyapong Klinpan said that the destruction of the lists put up on a notice board was unprecedented. It was not an act of sabotage between conflicting political parties or persons but an act against the government who was inviting people to cast their votes in the Aug 7 charter referendum. “It is believed that it was an act of those with different stances from the government’s,” Col Piyapong said.